Spending Time Away - Athens From Another Perspective

  • by XpatAthens
  • Monday, 08 January 2018
Spending Time Away - Athens From Another Perspective

Spending time away from home normally has one of two effects: 1) you may appreciate where you are, but you miss home and your own space…  2) you may appreciate where you’re from, but “omg I want to move here”.

I’ve had to spend an unusual week on the road, for work, jumping between Zurich, Berlin and Istanbul. My reactions have truly spanned the 2 extremes above – and have even fluctuated from minute to minute. To be perfectly honest, I had moments over the past days where I questioned my desire to live in Athens, with its challenges, its graffiti, its difficulties, its dramas…

Zurich is like a ‘perfect society’ - Pristine, wealthy, efficient, on time (down to the second!), sophisticated, beautiful. One could say, the way a 21st century city ought to be…

Istanbul, by contrast, is huge, bustling, cosmopolitan, historic, developing, energized. Berlin is modern, trendy, creative, progressive, young, open, cool. Athens, on the other hand, is none of these things - at first glance - but Athens is actually all of these things, depending where you look.  

It struck me that Athens is not easily defined, and does not have an easily discernable character, no global footprint as a city (apart from ‘historic’ and whatever news reports you choose to believe…!).

And that’s cool. Because it means that we still have time to make one. And according to my mother, challenges, difficulties and drama (and maybe even graffiti) create character.

And so it goes… When I woke up at home on Sunday morning, and walked out to greet the shining sun, I knew that in fact I do want to live in Athens. The rest is details.

Cheers to 21st century Athens!